- Associated Press - Saturday, May 7, 2016

ST. LOUIS (AP) - It was a real nice moment for David Freese, followed by a tough ending for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Freese, a St. Louis native who helped the Cardinals win the World Series in 2011, got a standing ovation when he pinch-hit for Pittsburgh in the ninth inning on Saturday, but the Pirates lost 6-4 when Matt Carpenter hit a game-ending homer for the Cardinals.

The ovation for Freese was so loud that he backed out of the batter’s box and tipped his batting helmet. It was his first plate appearance at Busch Stadium since he was traded following the 2012 season.

Freese reached on an error by rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz. With two outs, Freese on third and Gregory Polanco on first, Starling Marte hit a tying ground-rule double off Trevor Rosenthal (1-1). Francisco Cervelli then grounded out to end the inning.

If Marte’s drive had not bounced over the left-field fence, Polanco would have had a chance to score.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that he scores had that ball stayed in the ballpark,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “That’s the definition of a bad bounce.”

Diaz sparked the winning rally with a leadoff single in the bottom half of the inning. After Jeremy Hazelbaker flied to deep left, Carpenter drove a 1-2 pitch from A.J. Schugel (0-1) over the wall in right for his fourth homer.

Carpenter said it was his first game-ending hit since he played for Double-A Springfield in 2012.

“We can cross it off the list now,” he said.

It was the Cardinals’ first win over the Pirates in five games this season.

Jeff Locke pitched six innings for Pittsburgh, allowing three runs - two in the first - and four hits.

“I settled down well and made some good pitches and the defense made some good plays behind me,” Locke said.

The Pirates tied it at 3 on John Jaso’s two-out RBI single in the seventh on an 0-2 pitch from off Seung Hwan Oh. The Cardinals went back in front on Randal Grichuk’s RBI single in the eighth, setting up the frantic finish. Grichuk also had a two-run single in the first.

Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright allowed three runs and seven hits, struck out five and walked none in 6 1/3 innings. Wainwright, who has struggled in the first part of the season with a 6.30 ERA, said his curveball started to click when he struck out Francisco Cervelli after the first four Pirates reached in the first.

He also doubled in the second to become the first Cardinals pitcher in the modern era with extra-base hits in four straight plate appearances covering his past three starts. He grounded out in the fifth.

UMPIRE EXITS

Plate umpire Dana DeMuth left after the second inning to be evaluated for a possible concussion. DeMuth was hit in the mask by a foul ball in the first. Ed Hickox moved from second base to behind the plate and three umpires called the rest of the game. The change led to an 11-minute delay.

TRAINING ROOM

Pirates: 3B Jung Ho Kang was in the lineup for a day game the night after making his season debut in his return from a knee injury last September.

Cardinals: Because of an off day, the rotation could be shuffled to give RHP Carlos Martinez (fatigue) two extra days’ rest before his next start. Martinez, who has been dealing with flu-like symptoms for the past week, left his start Friday in the fourth inning.

UP NEXT

Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (2-3, 3.95 ERA) gave up six runs for the first time in his career in his previous start, a 7-2 loss to the Cubs on Monday. He beat the Cardinals three times in four starts last year, posting a 2.39 ERA.

Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (2-2, 2.65 ERA) was roughed up by the Pirates in his first start of the season, allowing 10 hits and five runs in 4 1/3 innings. Wacha held the Phillies to one run in eight innings in a 1-0 loss on Tuesday.

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